Water Mint, Mentha aquatica
Water Mint is a perennial flowering plant in the mint family. It grows in moist places, often partly submerged in slow running water, and is native to much of Europe. It has a beautiful aroma, a mix of menthol and aniseed, and imparts this lovely flavour when crushed and added to dishes, or made into a tea. Water mint produces stunning floral displays during the summer which are a key identifier of the plant.
Water Mint Checklist
🌊 Waterways, including rivers, lakes and streams.
💦 Semi-Aquatic Plant, can be found submerged in water.
🌸🌞🍂 Apr - Sep
☘️ The leaves are Oval to lance-shaped, green to purplish, toothed, and arranged on opposite sides of the stem. They vary from mildly hairy to nearly hairless.
🌷 The flowers of the watermint are ball-shaped flowerheads, made up of tiny, four-petalled lilac flowers. They bloom from mid to late summer.
🌱 The stems are green to purple, and square in cross section. They can be either hairy or hairless.
Aroma / Taste
👃 A refreshing cross between mint and aniseed.
👅 The leaves taste of fresh mint.
😋 Choice Edible - It's strongly pleasant flavour, and sheer versatility in the kitchen, makes Water Mint, in our opinion, a choice edible.
🟩 ID Difficulty - Beginner
👀 The stunning purple flowers are a key identifier of this plant.
👃 It's minty aroma is also a key identifier.
⛔️ As a semi-aquatic plant, water mint can sometimes be found growing submerged in rivers and streams and this means there is a possibility of it containing Liver Fluke, a water-based parasite that can make us rather unwell. This is especially so if cattle or sheep graze nearby.
✅ Harvesting submerged aquatic plants for eating is ok, as long as you cook or steep the plant in boiling water before consuming. This kills any water-bourne parasites so they can't infect you. Collecting from fast-flowing water (i.e. not stagnant pools), and harvesting the plants above the waterline is also good practice. Watermint and other aquatic plants can often be found on land near to water as well, rather than submerged, and these are perfectly safe to consume raw.
🥗 Salad - Leaves can be eaten raw and added to salads.
🌺 Garnish - Flowers can be used as a garnish.
🌿 Herb - Leaves can be used to add flavour, or as a pot-herb.
☕️ Beverage - Leaves and flowers can be used to make teas or other drinks.
🧉 Condiment - Can be used to make sauces, such as mint sauce.
🍨 Sweet - Can be used to add minty flavour to desserts and puddings.